By the end of
November I had finally gotten everything back together in the engine
bay and after test firing the engine I proceeded to clean up the
wiring both in the engine bay and under the dash. The 4Runner came
with a Flex-a-Lite dual electric fan kit installed but after
cleaning up the wiring I could not get it to cycle when the engine
reached operating temperature. Upon opening the fan controller I was
convinced a new one was needed; the existing one looked badly
corroded inside and one of the resistors looked burned. After
some searching I could replace just the interior electronics for a
reasonable $25 from Summit Racing. A few days I had the new
circuit board and the electric fans were up and running.
With all the engine
systems functioning it was time to get the truck aligned. It
was during this phase that we discovered all the front suspension
bushings were shot. I was really hoping to get some more miles
out of the stock stuff so I could evaluate my eventual front
suspension upgrades but fate was having none of that.
Comparing the cost of stock vs. upgraded parts It made sense at this
time to upgrade the upper control arms. I went with some
Light Racing Adjustable Upper Control Arms I picked up from Fat
Bob's Garage. Besides their adjustability I liked the fact
that the larger than stock upper ball joint would not start
squeaking like the uniball control arm versions sold by other
vendors. I went with completely new stock lower control arms on the
bottom due to having a hard time sourcing just the bushings.
While I like to do
this kind of work myself, I was short on time so the 4Runner was at
a local shop for this portion of the project. Realistically it
would have taken me a week or so to gather all the parts and another
weekend or two to completely rebuild the front end VS. 1 day at the
mechanics. While the Runner was in the shop it was determined the
rebuilt steering rack was in need of another rebuild and at least
one new tie rod so we threw that onto the bill. All told I was
into the front end for another $1600 when all was said and done.
This would explain why there were so many 4runners around the 250k
mark for sale, seems like about that time you either sink the money
into it or sell it.
The shop also
scanned all the codes and determined the MAF sensor was triggering
the check engine light so I found a used on one E-bay for $40 and
another week went by before I received and installed it. You
can really start to see how shipping times really drag out a project
but the alternative of paying $700 for a new MAF sensor from the
dealer just wasn't worth the time savings.
The maiden voyage
went pretty well although the check engine light made another
My list of bad
issues after the trip :
All the doors rattle
and it appears as if there is no adjustment, just worn latches in
One of the rear drum
brakes was rubbing on the new pads. We had a hard time getting that
particular one on so I wonder if the ID was not machined correctly?
Like I mentioned,
check engine light which made the truck run in safe mode; so it
smelled rich and was down on power.
sucks, seems like the rear bump stops in the coils are way too long.
I am sure the leaking Bilstein's are not helping matters.
I was pleasantly surprised the truck
climbed as well as the Jeep did; before hitting the dirt I was
fairly convinced the IFS was going to be a detriment off-road but I
honestly could not tell the difference. The Runner felt narrower
than the LJ did off-road which is good considering some of the shelf
roads we traversed. I would have liked a slightly lower gear for
some of the more technical spots on the trail but power was fine
when in low range.
Upon getting back into town we had the
codes read, they indicated a problem with the knock sensors (both
banks). Now I know the previous owner had replaced those so
after some more digging I was pretty sure it was the knock sensor wiring
harness which is prone to failure due to it being located in the
oven like space under the intake manifold. Sadly this meant I had to
take the engine apart down to the cylinder heads again to replace
the $30 wiring harness.
The knock sensors are located inside the
engine valley on the 3.4l, one below each cylinder head roughly
centered up. When the intake manifold is placed over the
valley you are left with no way for air to flow thru that area. The
pictures above show the intake manifold installed with the knock
sensor wiring harness snaking out from under the coolant intake.
While removing the fuel injector rails I
noticed one of the injectors was cracked. Turns out these are
modified Ford injectors that came with a URD fuel upgrade kit so
they are not available off the shelf. I ended up using JB weld
to patch the injector tip which is really a removable plastic tip.
While re-assembling the engine I also replaced the passenger side
exhaust manifold gasket along with all the exhaust flange gaskets
since most of the TRD gaskets seemed to be blown out.
I wasn't sure what I wanted to do with
the rear suspension yet so to tied us over I replaced the worn out
Bilstein shocks with a pair of Gabriel heavy duty shocks I picked up
from Rockauto. These were listed as a closeout item and were a
very reasonable $18 each. The ultimate goal is to get some sort of
reservoir shock installed out back along with and adjustable front
coilover for the front so I can lower the ride height slightly.